Feel like a fraud

Hi, I’m new to the forum and just wondered if I am the only one who feels like a fraud? 
Having successfully undergone a WLE and SLN biopsy to remove a 16mm, Er/Pr positive , Her2 negative IDC, with clear margins and clear lymph nodes, I just feel my situation is so insignificant compared to so many women out there. With my preliminary grade 2 diagnosis being upgraded post-op to grade 3, I was offered a Prosigna test which showed that I would benefit from Chemo so I am now waiting to start treatment in addition to radiotherapy and 5-10 years of tamoxifen, so it’s a real belt and braces approach. 
I’ve always thought (wrongly) that if someone has chemo it’s because the cancer has gone to the nodes or spread elsewhere and they are in a life threatening situation, so I’m feeling like a bit of a fraud considering how successful the surgery was. I feel I should tell everyone that it’s purely a precaution and that I’m fine yet I know the treatments themselves won’t be easy. It’s like the treatments are creating a bigger drama to my diagnosis than the cancer itself……does anyone else have feelings like this?

Hi was in similar position two years ago you are not a fraud chemo is only given when necessary …because it is preventative maybe or maybe just lucky I wasn’t ill apart from fatigue and even kept most of head hair due to cold cap . But was still 12 treatments and four months to get through. Good luck ! X 

Hi Dab

you are definately not a fraud…they don’t recommend chemo lightly…even when surgery gets clear margins and no lymph involvement…there is still the potential for unseen cancer cells to travel via the blood around the body…so the chemo will be a belts and braces approach…reducing the risk of a recurrence later down the line…like you say precautionary.

i was initially told just rads but then ‘upgraded’ to need chemo… when you are feeling fine … it does seem like a big deal, I agree. 
hope all goes well


I have mixed feelings about your post. Part of me thinks “Good for you”.  But then I feel you’re playing ostrich, like I did. Your diagnosis has been changed to grade 3. That’s pretty serious, but then all breast cancer is pretty serious. It’s the nature of cancer - totally unpredictable and therefore essential to throw everything at it if it may help. So you’re definitely not a fraud. If you’ve handled everything smoothly and that makes you feel a fraud, that just makes you lucky. Chemo won’t be easy but you may be lucky and sail through it. You’re still no fraud. There’s simply no predicting how things will go. I’d suggest you stop trying to make things easy for people around you by reassuring them you’re fine and be honest with yourself. Are you avoiding the reality of your diagnosis and treatment? That’s what I did and it got me through treatment. An effective strategy - but you’re still ill. Be kind to yourself, your cancer is unique so no comparisons- and never mind what anyone else thinks x 

hi, I’ve just joined this forum and read your message. Reading your post makes me feel as if I had written it.   I feel like I’m in exactly the same position as you. I am due to start my chemo in a couple of weeks and am also going to try the cold cap but very nervous about the whole situation. My daughter (she is a physio therapist) advised me to try the cold cap as shes heard it can have a positive outcome. I have very long hair which I’ve had all my life but in about a week I shall be having it cut very short.    A. To make life easier for myself and    B. If for me the cold cap doesn’t work I personally would find it very emotional and hard to have hand full’s of hair come off in my hands. I wish you all the best and hope your journey stays smooth and carry’s on being kind to you emotionally and physically. I will take each day as it comes and hope I can stay strong through this next part of the journey too. all the best x

Hi There 

I could have written your post too. I had successful surgery (Grade 3 plus a large area of calcifications) plus no lymph node involvement. I had a Oncotype test done and my oncologist said my score (18) was low and that he wasn’t recommending chemo. Although when I had my first appointment he’d said he thought given size and grade it would be likely I’d need it. Initially I was really pleased - yaaay no chemo. But then I did a bit of research and discovered that my score fell into the ‘intermediate range’ for my age (48). And that chemo could be seen to have some benefits to lower reoccurrence. This sent me into a real state of anxiety as to what to do. Chemo was still being offered but I felt that I would be wasting NHS time and money and taking the place of someone who actually needed it. I ended up seeking a second oncologist opinion because I just couldn’t let go of the idea that if I didn’t have it and it did come back I’d never get over it. I’d had in my head from diagnosis that I would have the full belts n braces. I know some would have been able to just accept the score/oncologist views and close the box but I really, really struggled. The second oncologist (female) was amazing. She didn’t give an opinion either way but she let me talk through my fears and one thing she did say was that by having chemo it would reduce my risk of reoccurrence slightly more. I’m a single mum and just want to do everything in my power to beat this thing once and for all. So, I decided to have chemo and as soon as I’d made the decision I felt it was the right one. I know that if I’d gone straight to radiotherapy I’d always be looking over my shoulder. Oncologist No.2 said I’d regret not having it but once the dust settles I’ll never regret having it. I still feel a sense of guilt though but I know I shouldn’t. If there was absolutely no benefit to me it wouldn’t have remained on offer. I’m one round into x4 cycles of TC. My first round went ok. Treatment day fine, first week not great but totally manageable. I used the cold cap - still too early to gauge whether it’s effective or not. My hair is long, I didn’t have it cut before I started treatment. I just figure I’ll deal with things as they happen. I have my next round this coming Friday and I’m hoping it will pan out the same way. 
Sending my love to you all. It was really helpful reading all your posts on this. Thank you. Sarah xx 

No way are you a fraud hun. Grade 3 is pretty serious and yes they are doing it as a precaution in case a few stray cells have gone elsewhere. I am awaiting chemo. Grade 4 with Liver mets-all at the same time-it is aggressive-it just has to be done. I feel well at present as no symptoms re the liver. BUT it is there-as someone else said-it is mostly unseen. We ARE still poorly however. I think the cure will be worse than the disease as since my surgery and ensuing complications I am doing okay. But we just have to do it to survive.

I have decided not to bother with the cold cap too. It’s just more time spent in the hospital, it sounds rather horrid, and With the Docetaxel I will be on, hair loss is guaranteed. Therefore I am dubious about the benefits. I shall just let things take their course and have ordered some lovely per-tied bandanas from Anna Bandana. You will find them easily with Google.

I also had long hair. My daughter in law cut it into a stylish short bob for me-which I love- and I donated my hair to Little Princess Trust. It won’t be such a shock then when it starts to sged as there is far less of it. I will go and choose a funky short style of wig! I think losing my eyebrows and lashes will be worse-it just changes your looks quite dramatically! I am armed with a microblading pen-like a liner with 4 tiny nibs-and a W7 Eyebrow kit with stencils! What kind of a mess I will make of it I can’t imagine as it’s not something I ever needed to do! As for lashes-I may try the magnetic ones. No glue involved. They attach to an eyeliner you apply first which has tiny magnetic particles in it. Worth a try for “going out”. I think it may help us feel better if we can look kind of normal?

Anyway best of luck with it. You are in the right place here to get info, share your worries, or just have a bit of a moan. I am all genned up and ready for my chemo which starts 8th Sept but have really no idea what it will be like or how i will react to it. We are all different.

Take good care of yourself. Jane.x